It is generally acceptable to drink water prior to a cholesterol test. The Mayo Clinic states that a person should not have any food or beverages except water for nine to 12 hours prior to a cholesterol test. It is best to directly contact the ordering physician's office or the lab with specific questions.
A typical cholesterol test reports the total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglyceride levels, according to Mayo Clinic. Because LDL and triglyceride levels are affected by foods that were recently consumed, the American Heart Association recommends fasting prior to these tests.
According to the American Heart Association, the results of a cholesterol test are reported in mg/dL. Guidelines for desirable cholesterol levels include a total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL, LDL cholesterol less than 100 mg/dL and triglycerides less than 150 mg/dL. HDL is known as good cholesterol, and the Mayo Clinic states that a level of 50 mg/dL or greater is considered acceptable and 60 mg/dL or more is considered the best. A person's physician is ultimately responsible for interpreting the results based on the person's age, family history, smoking history and blood pressure levels. A treatment plan may be proposed if the cholesterol levels are abnormal.